Herman was the founding President of IFAPP in 1975 and served continuously within our Federation till 2009, acting as President, Secretary or Treasurer on occasion. He was elected as Honorary Life President of IFAPP in 2004. He was also a senior member of the Belgian College of Pharmaceutical Medicine. His contributions to our discipline and profession have been remarkable.
Herman received his medical degree from the University of Brussels and a degree in Tropical Medicine in Antwerp in 1954. With a sense of adventure, he went off to practice tropical medicine in Africa in what was then the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and gained a profound realization on the relevance of the patient-physician relationship and the proper use of medicines by well-trained professionals to leverage public health. Herman returned to Belgium in 1960 and started a long and productive career with Pfizer, initially as Medical Director for his country and then as Medical Director for Eastern Europe and finally as Vice President, Medical Director, Pfizer Europe. His career at Pfizer lasted for 23 years.
Herman was a pioneer in establishing education in pharmaceutical medicine and medicines development Herman was a key driver in the process to harmonize requirements for education in pharmaceutical medicine. He was the founding chair of the former IFAPP Council of Education in Pharmaceutical Medicine (whose responsibilities are currently under the IFAPP Education Working Group) and within the initiative to gain EU recognition of pharmaceutical medicine as a specialty.
He was also intimately involved with the Postgraduate Courses in Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Medicine and participated in the foundation of the PHARMED post-graduate program in Pharmaceutical Medicine and Medicines Development Sciences in Belgium
Herman was a founding member of the Belgian College of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Honorary President for life of the Belgian Association of Pharmaceutical Medicine Professionals (BeAPP).
He was also for many years Board member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom and was the first Chair of its International Committee.
Herman was a great leader and source of inspiration for many pharmaceutical physicians worldwide. He willingly gave his time, unique talents and resources to support numerous initiatives aimed at advance Pharmaceutical Medicine in Europe and beyond. Those of us who were fortunate to have known and worked with him will fondly remember his wisdom, integrity, compassion, engaging personality, limitless energy, and passion to positioning Pharmaceutical Medicine as a distinct medical specialty.
In recognition to Herman’s efforts to advancing education in Pharmaceutical Medicine both the IFAPP Academy and IFAPP Board of Directors have agreed with the creation of the Herman Lahon Scholarship to be offered to young pharmaceutical physicians/drug developments scientist from the emerging world willing to participate in the Professional Certification Program on Medical Affairs in Medicines Development offered by the IFAPP Academy and King’s College London from 2019 and beyond.s